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23 Aug

The Cracks in my Parking Lot are all White!

Posted by scott brunswig

Your company just completed a parking lot maintenance project that included all the parts: patching, hot rubber crack sealing, Sealcoating, and line striping and when you finished and your crew pulled away it looked like a million bucks.  But the next day you get a call from your customer and he tells you, "it looks like hell, the cracks are all white and the sealer must not have held up!"  

You know it looked great because you took a couple pictures of it and it was mostly dry when left and know your crew material usage was about what you planned and the weather was perfect.  You immediately run over to look at the project again and find that the cracks are full of a white chalky residue and even brown in some areas, but almost all of the unfilled cracks are white and it's making the entire job look bad.  

If you are a veteran you knew this is what you would find before getting there, but if you are new to this challenge you need to be prepared for this when you first talk with your customer and even before visiting.  

When your customer explains to you that the cracks are all white and chalky you need to know why and prepare him with what can be relatively common on parking lots where crack sealing is excessive.  In fact, if you did it right you would have reviewed this or even mentioned in your review of the project with your client before performing the work.  A verteran pavement contractor knows that this often occurs when cracks are so numerous that they cannot all be filled.  It would be too costly and no longer is it preventative.  

If you have not seen this before then you will learn that the white chalky residue is actually a deposit of lime or salt in the groundwater.  The moisture from the evening which seeped up from the ground left the cracks wet even after they had appeared to be fully dry when your company performed the work.  The moisture deposited this residue on top of the sealed surface and as it dried again the next morning the white chalky residue remained.  You can run your finger nail across it and it flakes away and beneath it is a surface that clearly been sealed properly and the sealer is still there.  

The problem, however, is that you did not prepare your customer for this before it happened which is what an experienced professional will do for many similar and probable outcomes like this one.  Now you must work to educate your customer that this is what took place and its all fully protected with sealer and your conversation must go on and on to ensure him that things were done properly.


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